Street birth in the rain for baby Eva Alexis as east London birthing centre front-door is locked
- Credit: Olivia Keogh
A mum gave birth in the street in the pouring rain when she arrived at the birthing centre in East London in the middle of the night to find the front door locked.
Olivia Keogh screamed in pain as the little girl was being born and had to be caught by her husband.
The 32-year-old business analyst took a cab from her home in Stratford to the Barkantine medical birthing centre above a GP surgery on the Isle of Dogs at 3am on Friday.
“The contractions were getting stronger as I got out,” she said.
“My husband ran to the front door, but the surgery was closed and the night porter wasn’t around.
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“He banged on the door to be let in. I couldn’t move past bollard when I felt the baby coming.”
Two police officers passing at that moment saw Olivia struggling in pain and stopped to help.
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“They saw my husband bashing door and thought he was robbing the place,” Olivia added bemused. “Then I screamed that the baby was coming out and felt its head.”
Her husband Freddy, 35, managed to catch the baby and the chord and handed to one of the officers who wrapped the little girl in his jacket.
Midwives at the medical centre on the third floor above the surgery in West Ferry Road, meanwhile, heard the commotion in the street and rushed down to open the front door.
They put Olivia in a wheelchair with the baby on her stomach, the umbilical cord still attached, and took them inside, out of the rain.
“It was quite traumatic experience and the rain added to the drama,” Olivia later recalled.
“The police are just wonderful. I don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t been there to take the baby while Freddy was The main midwife was “so decisive and quick acting when she came out into the street”, making Olivia feel “much less terrified for the baby’s wellbeing”.
The baby was born healthy and is being named Eva Alexis. It was just the birth that was so dramatic.
“My contractions were three minutes apart and getting stronger,” Olivia remembers.
“We got out of the cab and Freddy ran to the front-door, but it was closed and the night porter wasn’t around.
“Freddy screamed to be let in. I screamed ‘the baby is coming now’ and could feel her head a third of the way out.
“I told him to catch the baby as it came out. He just managed to catch her and the umbilical cord.”
The baby was born healthy and is being named Eva Alexis. The couple also have a two-year-old daughter, Cataleya.
Pc Rob Ruston who took the newborn and wrapped her in his jacket to keep her warm and dry, said later: “I was so pleased I could help deliver a beautiful baby girl. But I was just doing my job.”
His colleague from the Tower Hamlets Response team, Steve Parmenter, who was on night patrol with him, said: “I feel overwhelmed and extremely proud for someone so young in the job to have helped in this way. It was a great end to a very difficult week.”
Barts Health NHS Trust which runs the Barkantine medical centre promised to find out why the night porter wasn’t at the front-door to meet Olivia in her “hour of need”. It is looking into what happened and to put measures in place to “prevent it happening again”.
Olivia and little Eva Alexis, who made such a dramatic entry into the world in a downpour, were back safe and sound at the family home in Farringford Road in Stratford on Saturday, a new baby sister for Catalya to play with—when she’s a little older.